With demand for taxis drying up in Thailand and thousands of drivers leaving town, one Bangkok cab company has turned its vehicles into mini vegetable gardens, hoping to take the edge off the coronavirus crunch.
The Ratchapruek Taxi Cooperative has taken hundreds of cars off the road in the past year amid a slowing economy worsened by months of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has left many drivers with insufficient income to pay the lease on their vehicles.
As a result, the co-operative grows vegetables on the roofs and hoods of 300 disused cabs, providing its drivers and members with food to share while sending a message to the government to do more to help with the hardship.
“We discussed among each other and decided to grow vegetables to eat because there is no use for these taxis,” said Thapakorn Asawalertkul, a business consultant for the company.
“They have become just metal as they’ve been parking for over a year now.”
Miniature gardens are seen on the roof of unused taxis. ((Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters))Staff members of a taxi rental garage plant vegetables on the roofs of the firm’s vehicles. (Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images)Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and strict quarantine measures put in place by the Thai government, taxi rental companies have seen a significant drop in business. (Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)(Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images) (.)
Thailand has recorded more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases and more than 15,600 deaths, 99 per cent of them since April this year. Just over 21 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
On hundreds of pink and orange taxis, chilis, eggplants, cucumbers and basil leaves sprout from soil contained in black plastic sheeting reinforced with bamboo or wooden poles.
Kamolporn Boonnitiyong, an administrator with the company, said though the gardens keep people occupied, they are only a temporary fix.
“To a certain extent, it has helped with lessening our stress, but it isn’t really the answer,” Kamolporn said.
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